EC agrees on 6th anti-Russian sanctions package, including embargo on Russian oil

Greek Tanker is main suspect in disastrous Mediterranean oil spill

The European Commission is preparing to submit to the EU member states for approval the 6th package of sanctions against Moscow, which will include a plan for a gradual embargo on crude oil imports from Russia by the end of the year.

The 6th package of sanctions was approved by the College of Commissioners today and the President of the Commission will present it tomorrow morning at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, before receiving the final approval from the Member States.

The Permanent Representatives of the EU countries (COREPER) will consider tomorrow the Commission’s proposal for the 6th package of sanctions. According to diplomatic sources, there are several Member States that are expected to propose amendments to the plan for the oil embargo, as for their own reasons they each have reservations about its extent, impact, and time horizon.

Among them are shipping countries such as Greece, Cyprus, Malta, but also Belgium and the Netherlands, which have reservations about an embargo on Russian oil shipments to third countries because of the implications of such a measure in their shipping sector and the negative impact on their economies.

Hungary and Slovakia, two mainland countries that are heavily dependent on Russian oil, are seeking to be excluded from the cessation of Russian oil imports by the end of the year and are likely to be given more time, up to 12 months. However, other countries are reportedly now seeking to take advantage of this exemption (eg the Czech Republic).

In addition to the embargo on Russian oil, the 6th package of sanctions, among other things, provides for the exclusion of other Russian banks from the SWIFT trading system. According to information, the plan proposes to block the large Russian bank Sberbank and a major Russian agricultural bank. New individuals and entities will also be added to the blacklist of sanctions, mainly those involved in the Boucha massacre.